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Book Note: John Sandford, Eyes of Prey

I read this book about 9-Feb-2010. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1991. This note was last modified Wednesday, 15-Jun-2016 13:59:45 PDT.

This is book 3 of the "Prey" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


I believe this is not the second book in the series; but it's the second oldest I could find used at Uncle Edgar's :-). As I expected in mysteries, I was able to follow events even after skipping over a book. On the other hand, I liked this and the first one enough that I'll eventually fill in the missing book(s), too.

The scenario starts off with a classic "murder swap"—two people with no apparent connection agree to each murder the person the other wants disposed of. The fact that this is a known mystery trope never seems to occur to any of the police working the cases, or to the murderers. They enhance the plan (since they're in the same city) by using various signature details to make it clear that the same person committed both killings. They do not, however, really make enough effort to have alibis during the killing performed by the other, which is important to take full advantage of their scheme.

The signature involves destroying the eyes of the victims, hence the title. Turns out the pathologist has been doing it since Vietnam.

Of course, things never go that smoothly. Especially when one of the people involved is a death-obssessed pathologist who spends his life high, low, or otherwise altered by a range of prescription and street drugs from acid to PHP to qualudes. There's an unexpected lover on-site when the actor murders the pathologist's wife, and they go after him, but they don't know who he is, and eventually get the wrong man, and the body is found quickly instead of never, and the actor is seen killing the random woman at the mall, too (to create confusion). In the end the pathologist murders the actor but is caught shortly afterwards.

Davenport again has an affair with a character involved in the mystery, and this one doesn't make it out alive.

Davenport is on the edge most of this book, depressed, on the edge of trouble with the police (he likes to beat on suspects, apparently). The murder of his lover doesn't help his attitude, and the book ends with him being at least temporarily set aside by the police department. Since there are a lot of other "prey" books, I imagine he finds some way to keep involved, perhaps privately, or perhaps the department takes him back (there were hints of ways to do so).

I wonder how Davenport is going to age into the present; he's in his forties, I think, in 1989. Well, many series characters have a very strange relationship with time, going back at least to Nero Wolf.

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David Dyer-Bennet